Self-narratives feature prominently in Tzetzes’ unedited commentary on the “corpus Hermogenianum” – a hugely influential rhetorical handbook from the 3rd century CE. Tzetzes shows a deep awareness of the ambiguity and capaciousness of language, later underpinning the Historiai, a self-commentary on his own letter collection, where he toys with his different, linguistically construed social selves. His work on Hermogenes is storied through his later works as an “identity factor” scaffolding his personality of scholar and individual. The commentary is only partially edited and preserved in 8 manuscripts: Dresden Da 007; Leiden Voss. Gr. Qo 01; British Library Arundel 541; Vienna Phil. Gr. 130; Phil. Gr. 300; Naples II E 05; Cambridge Ll. V. 02-03. Of them Leiden Voss. Gr. Qo 01 is a unique witness. As pointed out by PI Aglae Pizzone, it preserves a portion of a work by John Tzetzes hitherto believed to be lost, The Logismoi, or Book of audits. Aglae Pizzone together with PhD candidate Elisabetta Barili also ascertained that the manuscript was edited by Tzetzes himself, who dotted it with a large number of autograph notes. This is a rather unique fund for this age in Byzantium. The project aims to produce an edition of the Logismoi and of part of the commentary on Hermogenes.
The Saqt al-zand (The First Tinder-Spark) is a collection of al-Ma`arri’s early poetry. Kevin Blankinship will trace al-Ma`arri’s self-editing of his poetry and analyzes the two manuscripts of the Saqt plus commentaries housed in the Danish Royal Library in Copenhagen (Arab. 261; 262). Arab. 261 dates to within fifty years of al-Ma`arri’s death in the mid-eleventh-century and is a heretofore unknown witness of his self-commentary Daw’ al-Saqt (The Sparklight). Arab. 262, dates to the 17th century and preserves unedited notes and Latin translation by Dutch orientalist Jacob van Gool. Research results will be used to create digital exhibit on Al Ma’arri.
Learn more about the interdisciplinary team conducting the project here.